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Cisco aims to be the No. 1 IT company in the world


BOSTON – According to Cisco CEO John Chambers, the dream started in the early 90s when he was just a lowly vice-president at the San Jose, Calif.-based networking company.

While the goal internally was to become the No. 1 IT company in the world, Chambers has never vocalized it until today at the annual Partner Summit.

And, the goal maybe within the company’s reach just as the veteran CEO is planning his exit from the corner office. Chambers said that he is serving a two to four year role and that there will be no updates on his career until six months before the CEO transition happens.

“I have to earn my job each day and it’s obvious we have two world-class executives in Rob Lloyd (President, Development and Sales) and Gary Moore (COO), but we also have a deep bench,” he said.

It’s that deep bench Chambers wants to protect for Cisco. That bench has Padmasree Warrior at CTO and Chief Strategy Officer, services chief Edzard Overbeek who have been mentioned as possible successors. But Cisco also has quality executives in Chuck Robbins (Senior Vice President, Worldwide Field Operations), Wendy Bahr (Senior Vice President, Americas Partner Organization) and Bruce Klein (Senior Vice President, Worldwide Partner Organization).

Can Chambers reach the goal of becoming the No. IT company in the world before he retires from Cisco?

Paul Edwards. worldwide director of infrastructure channel research for IDC, said Cisco could attain this lofty goal. But in today’s high tech market it’s hard to properly define what an IT company is.

“What defines an IT company? You can say Oracle is an IT company because they have the stack with an apps layer, hardware and services. The IT companies of the past are not the IT companies are not the IT companies of today. Cisco has evolved with the market and has stayed relevant and maybe that’s what defines an IT company,” Edwards said.

In his opinion, Cisco needs to bring the hardware side of the equation with software and services to have a more robust offering. That direction will help them become more of a holistic IT company.

If you look at Cisco’s marketshare record, they are 18 market categories Cisco plays in they are the leader in 13 of those sectors and they are No. 2 in many of the other markets.

And, then there is the colossal opportunity staring the company  right in their face: the Internet of Everything.

Chambers told CDN that the Internet of Everything is valued at $14.4 trillion over the next ten years and he believes that will ultimately be a conservative figure.

What is the Internet of Everything?

The first thing you need to know is it creates $14.4 trillion profit opportunity. Chambers said that he wasn’t talk about an addressable market. It would be too large to calculate, he said.

The main factors fueling the Internet of Everything is asset utilization, cost reduction of about $2.5 trillion, greater productivity, supply chain and logistics eliminating waste of approximately $2.7 trillion, improved customer experience pegged at a value of $3.7 trillion, innovation along with reducing time to market of about $3.0 trillion.

The Internet of Everything goes beyond people being connected anywhere and anytime and will take into account processes, data and things. For example, image a sensor inside the street will be part of the Internet of Everything. That sensor will tells a smart car, which will also be part of the Internet of Everything the best available parking spot. Chambers said that the people of Paris, France spend three to five years of their life driving around trying to find a parking spot.

Currently, 99.4 per cent of physical objects that may one day be part of the Internet of Everything are still unconnected.

With 67,000 channel partners on board Cisco is in a good spot to go after this huge market opportunity. The company is already integrating and getting partners ready with its smart grid, smart buildings, connected healthcare and smart factories initiatives.

Time, of course, will ultimately tell. We shall see in about two more years.